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Chapter Spotlight: Dayton PRSA

Chapter history: The PRSA Dayton Area Chapter was established Nov. 7, 1966. The original Dayton/Miami Valley Chapter was one of three PRSA chapters (Alabama, Dayton and Southern Connecticut) to be approved by the national assembly that year. In July of 1967, East Central District Chair Herbert Flint visited Dayton and reported that the chapter had 18 members, with potential for up to 60 members. We’ve surpassed that membership and continue to grow and flourish.  

Dayton PRSA Board

Current membership:  The Dayton chapter now boasts 70 members.

2019 officers:  President Linda Dininger, President-Elect Mark D. Weinstein, Past-President Erin Prokes and Secretary/Treasurer Stacy Porter.

Who we are:  The chapter is represented by all facets of the industry, including corporate, non-profit, agency and independent practitioners. Dayton has strong membership representation from agencies and healthcare, with some representation from higher education.

Our biggest project this year: “I see two big projects for Dayton PRSA,” said President-Elect Mark Weinstein. “First, it’s our Media Day, which has gone through some transformation the past two years. This event connects PR leaders with area media, as well as addresses topics that help the media and PR leaders be more effective in their collective work. The second big project is celebrating the successes for PR professionals through the PRism awards ceremony.”

Our chapter’s proudest achievement: “For me, it is seeing the hard work of Dayton’s PR leaders being rewarded at the PRism awards ceremony,” said Mark. “As a result of the accomplishments, I also see PR leaders making a sizable difference in the Dayton landscape.”

Our chapter’s goal for 2019 and its progress: “We have set several goals for the year, but I’ll highlight one,” said President Linda Dininger. “Over the last several years, we have built our sponsorship program into one that offers increased value to local companies. For 2019, we set an unprecedented goal of reaching $5,000 in sponsorships. We streamlined the sponsorship packages and formalized a plan to reach out to the local community to get involved. To date, we have reached 80 percent of plan and still have another six months to attain the other 20 percent.”

A fun fact about our chapter: Each year, the Dayton Chapter PRSA presents the “Smitty Award” to an individual from the area who has demonstrated communications excellence. In old English, “smitty” means blacksmith, so is this Dayton’s version of the Silver Anvil awards? “Iron Anvil” perhaps? Nope! It’s named for the late Rex Smith, a highly regarded public relations practitioner in Dayton for more than 40 years and a former chapter member.

Our secret to a happy chapter: “Creating quality monthly programming and effective communication among the leadership team and members,” said Mark.  “It is so rewarding and enjoyable to celebrate each other’s work, to come alongside during difficult times that allow us to develop professionally.”

Past President Susan Kaiser was quick to agree with Mark. “One item that I can add based on my personal experience falls under “What Makes a Happy Chapter” and supports what Mark has stated as well,” said Susan. “For me, it’s that our chapter consists of a close-knit community that is very supportive of each other as colleagues and mentors. They all have something to bring to the table and advice to help others grow on their PR leadership journey.”

Susan was also impressed by the June 26 ECD Best Practices presentation on chapter diversity by TaQuinda Johnson from the Detroit chapter. She had this to add from her experience as a board member of Professional Women in Healthcare: “For us, healthcare manufacturing and distribution was always very male-dominated, hence the reason PWM was started 15 years ago. There are now many women in leadership roles, but very little women of color, so we continue to explore how to provide education in this area for the industry. We had a man and woman speak at our leadership summit this month about gender partnership. It was the hit of the summit.”  

 Any questions for the Dayton Chapter? Contact President Linda Dininger at linda.dininger.2@gmail.

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Giving Back – Creating a Flourishing Community

By Vanessa Lansdale, Alumni GVSU PRSSA

Anniversaries come and go every year, but instead of getting gifts for an anniversary, how about giving back? That’s what the Grand Valley State University PRSSA chapter did for its 10-year anniversary celebration.

The Grand Valley Chapter of PRSSA, GVSUPRSSA, along with its nationally affiliated, student-run public relations firm, GrandPR, celebrated their 10-year anniversary with an alumni networking spectacular hosted by partner firm 8ThirtyFour Integrated Communications. Between the months of January and March, students from both organizations partnered with 10 different nonprofits in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area as a way to say “thank you” to those who have contributed to the organizations’ success.

Tasks included collecting and re-packaging feminine hygiene products for Be A Rose, donating supplies for GR HQ, assembling sack suppers for Kids’ Food Basket, and more. “The community here gives us so much; we have amazing partnerships with agencies and firms, mentors, our West Michigan Public Relations Society Chapter, and many nonprofits and businesses in the area. When thinking what we could do to celebrate the first decade of GrandPR, we couldn’t think of a better way than to give back,” said GrandPR’s CEO, Sabrina Antcliff.

Being involved first-hand with GrandPR and GVSU PRSSA’s 10-year anniversary celebration, I had many takeaways from this experience. Here are a few:

Community partnerships are to be treasured.

Oftentimes, we take the people around us for granted. Sending a simple thank-you card, inviting a student to your event, or even grabbing coffee with a colleague who you haven’t talked to in a while all strengthens your network. Building networks and partnerships are key in making the community around you grow.

Celebrations don’t need to have gifts.

The gift of time may be the most valuable thing you can give. While volunteering at the different nonprofits with GVSU PRSSA and GrandPR, I could see how my time was directly impacting other individuals. Instead of giving a gift, consider giving your time or an experience to someone. That time may be more valuable to them than you know.

I challenge you to ask yourself, how can I make a difference in my community? How can I use my talents to benefit others? Whether it’s mentoring an individual or volunteering at an organization, together, we can create a flourishing community.

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